Friday, September 22, 2006


I love this purple fountain grass. This is an annual here but long after it dies back I'll enjoy watching the plumes blowing in the wind or lightly dusted with snow (or mashed flat by a heavy snowstorm). I planted this one in a pot so I can move it to the front yard for a nice fall display with the pumpkins and the potted chrysanthemums. But that's after I get back from a week exploring the rocky coastline of Oregon. Happy first day of fall!

Monday, September 11, 2006


My friend the neophyte gardener goes to Home Depot and Lowe's two or three times a week. She and her husband are busy buying landscape edging, concrete blocks, trellises, fencing, and anything else they can still find in stock to finish up the hardscape on their first-year garden. She's always looking for bargains and so when she told me this fountain at Lowe's had been marked down to $29 I had to stop by and see for myself. It was pretty cute but maybe not my first choice for a wall fountain. But at $29 I couldn't pass it up. Plus it was the last one left. And since I'd had an earlier failure with a "water feature" this seemed like a good buy and a boost to my end-of-summer doldrums. I didn't have a really good place to put it because my back porch is crammed with a mish-mosh of assorted stuff, none of which goes together and it all takes up a lot of room. So I removed a wooden shelf and slapped the fountain onto the wall. Instant ambience! I spent most of the weekend on the porch so I could listen to the sound of the water and pretend like it was still summer, even though I was shivering most of the time.
Earlier in the season I'd purchased a solar fountain to put in my miniscule pond to help aerate the water. Since I quit buying goldfish (otherwise known as raccoon hors d'euvres) the water tends to get a little yucky. But it seems I grossly underestimated the amount of sunlight that area receives. The solar panel doesn't store energy, it works only when the sun is shining directly on it. So when I'd leave for work, no bubbling fountain. When I got home from work, no jet of water. It became a weekend fountain, and even at that, I had to keep moving the solar panel to catch the direct rays. I felt like a sunflower constantly turning my face to follow the sun. It didn't help that the raccoons threw the darn thing out of the pond each night and I had to keep resetting it. So being the lazy gardener that I am I finally gave up on it. My new fall fountain seems to be just the thing I needed. But I am careful to turn it off at night. I have visions of raccoons swarming over it washing their food while I sleep and then me coming out in the morning to find it all in a heap on the patio floor. This may happen anyway, but I won't tempt them.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


He died two years ago tonight in a car crash at age 15. An amazing kid. He loved bold colors, especially orange and hot pink. This bouquet is for Kameron.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I was reading Perennial Passion's post which showed a picture of her patio table set for a charming al fresco dinner. Her cobalt blue theme including the wine bottle reminded me of one of my favorite photos I took in Alaska about this time last year. This was a garden outside a bar in Skagway. I thought they were very clever to use all their blue wine bottles in this whimsical way. It sure caught my eye! Here's a link (I hope) to Passion's post.
The pink petunias overflowing a window box in front told me someone was tending more than the bar. Maybe because the skies were overcast for most of the time we were there the flowers looked so brilliant in Alaska. My mind has turned to colder climates because it's so dreary and chilly here. In Colorado today it's jacket weather, and up in the mountains it snowed on the high passes. Doggone it, I miss those hot days of summer ( a couple of weeks ago). Maybe a bottle of wine will help warm me back up.

Monday, September 04, 2006


This time of year my hollyhocks are in their second or third re-flowering. Their stalks aren't as thick and tall as the first time around and so they tend to flop over. That's the way I feel too. It's been a long season and most plants are going to have to fend for themselves now until the frost does them in. Next spring, when the sap rises and I've regained my own fervor, I'll be cleaning up the garden and planting like mad. Right now I'm too tired to stake floppy plants, re-seed the patches of grass where the weeds have taken over, or do much more than the occasional watering. At this time of year one of the pests of the front beds makes it appearance in spades, the volunteer morning glory. I hate these little buggers with their twining tendrils trying to strangle everything in sight. They remind me of the strangler figs I've seen in Mexico that encase the "host" plant and eventually do it in. Perhaps if these morning glories were "Heavenly Blue" like their ancestor many seasons ago I'd think they were a happy accident, but they're in that mauve shade that I hate in the garden. Normally I attempt to un-weave their twining tendrils from the plants next to them, which is kind of like trying to untangle a fine-chain necklace that's gotten itself into a knot. And if I just yank them by their roots all the rose heads will come off too. So I was pleased to find a morning glory actually doing a service in the garden. It wrapped a tendril around a hollyhock stalk thereby keeping it off the ground. Of course it looks rather like a stranglehold but it will do for the time being.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


When you walk in my front door birds chirp. Not real ones. There are an assortment of wooden and mechanical birds on the divider between the hallway and the living room, and some of them have motion sensors which make the birds chirp as you pass by. Some people think it's really annoying but I like it.

I don't get any chirping from these birds. This was a whirligig on a post but the post would never stand up straight so I moved it under a small Flowering Almond tree. Now the branches hold it up and it looks like a Western Tanager and a Mountain Bluebird or two stopped by for a rest.

Speaking of birds, I just finished "Brief encounters with Che Guevara" by Ben Fountain. It's a collection of short stories about Americans doing good and not-so-good in third-world countries. I really enjoyed it, especially the first story about an ornithologist who gets captured by guerilla rebels in a Colombian rain forest. All the stories were fascinating, some were wickedly funny, and all were thought-provoking. This was a good read.